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Updated: Nov 21, 2023

My dear Parishioners, On this 20th Sunday in ordinary times, year A, the gospel reading (Matthew 15:21-28) tells the story of Jesus’ encounter with a Canaanite woman whose daughter was possessed by a demon and had come to Jesus to seek healing for her baby. She approached Jesus and called out to Him, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me” and when her request went unacknowledged, she took it up a notch; she knelt down in worship before Jesus and asked Him again, “Lord, have mercy on me”. When Jesus’ responses seemed disparaging, she had the emotional maturity to hang in there without flinching; she remained focused on her need. She kept her pride at bay and allowed humility to run through the course. She remained consistent, persistent, and unyielding in her quest for help until she got the job done. Her wish was granted. Many a time, our faith is going to get a workout and we will need to remain focused on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith if we want to get through. Our faith could be challenged just to make sure we really want what we say we want and if we really and truly believe.

It is not uncommon, when we face life challenges, to let pride stand in the way of our needs and our prayer. Desperate times require desperate measures. There comes a time when we need to put our pride aside so that we can make a headway in life, achieve our goals, worship God as we ought to, and be the father, the mother, the son, and the daughter, the priest we are called to be. Persistent humility is a powerful tool for everyday success.

Doesn’t it feel upsetting to hear the apostles tell Jesus, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us?” The woman was only crying out to Jesus. Where did the “US” come from? It is amazing that people, many a time, don’t always understand nor care about the pains of others, or what others are going through. It was the burden of her possessed daughter that drove her to Jesus, but the disciples apparently could not relate to this. Could it be because they had no children? In another situation, we saw them dismiss the children who had come to sit on the lap of Jesus, an action for which Jesus admonished them.

My friends, emotional intelligence is good for all of us—being able to appreciate and understand the burden and the pains others may be feeling and carrying. As the saying goes, what do we live for, if not to make the world less burdensome for someone else? Let’s never be the source of stress for others; let’s never be too quick to point out what someone is doing wrong, rather, let’s be the first to point out what someone is doing right! My friends, the bottom line of this story is that persistence in prayer is always the key. God pays attention to prayers that don’t stop coming. So, never stop praying no matter what. There may be something you have been asking God to do for you that has not yet come to pass. Keep the prayer going. Do not lose heart, do not lose focus, do not be discouraged, your answer is on the way and it will get to you when the time is right. It is always to the glory of God that our prayers be answered.

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